"Feedback" is information about employees performance that is used for improving.
There is "positive feedback" like appreciation (thanking and showing gratitude for employees' efforts) and recognition (identifying and celebrating good actions). These tell employees what they are doing right and help them keep doing it.
There is also what we'd call "change feedback," like correcting how to perform tasks or asking employees to change behaviors. Both positive feedback and change feedback are critically important. Employees need to know what they are doing well, what needs improvement, and where to get the support, training, or resources required for improvement.
Surveys show that missing feedback from leaders is a major reason employees leave. Among younger workers, 73% say they will quit if they don't get adequate feedback. And feedback alone isn't enough -- it has to be backed by genuine support. Providing feedback with support demonstrates to employees that their leaders and workplace cares about them.
So, we need to provide positive feedback, change feedback, and support to help employees improve. How do we get this right?
The Pizza Method
One of the most common pieces of advice about giving constructive feedback is that leaders should use the "sandwich" method -- first providing positive feedback and appreciation, then constructive criticism, then concluding with more positive feedback and appreciation. The theory behind this is that employees are less likely to feel offended, upset, or unsafe when they are asked to make a change. It doesn't work that well, and it's common for employees to see the positive portions of the feedback as fake or shallow.
At Amazing Workplace, we encourage something a little different and much more effective. Let's think of this feedback method as the "pizza" method. It has a crust, sauce, cheese, and toppings.
In the pizza method, you begin with a large crust. The crust represents the consistent gratitude and appreciation of leaders from the executive team down. These leaders create the crust by taking frequent opportunities to thank teams and employees for their efforts. Leaders do not limit when appreciation happens, and they communicate it through messaging, live in person, and in remote meetings. It's normal and its a primary part of leaders' jobs to show gratitude.
With the crust in place, employees feel safer to receive all kinds of feedback. This means that when leaders do give change feedback, employees are ready to communicate and find ways to improve.
The next step of the pizza method is spreading the sauce of recognition. Leaders create the sauce by recognizing people's achievements and communicating that they have done well. Leaders find appropriate times to recognize employees and teams in both group settings and in direct communication. Not everyone likes to be recognized individually in group settings, so leaders ensure that employees are recognized in a way that is comfortable for them.
Now we apply the cheese of feedback. The cheese is the stretchy network of times and spaces when employees can work on feedback with their leaders. Working on feedback does not have to be limited to assigned times for formal performance reviews. Highly successful teams have leaders who create frequent, easy, flexible opportunities for employees to ask questions and talk about feedback. This may look different depending on the organization, but we recommend leaders set weekly or monthly "check in" meetings, where the only agenda is to ask the employee "How are you doing?" and "What do you need and want?"
Toppings are particular, actionable pieces of feedback. Some are spicy (change feedback) or just flavorful (positive feedback). A feedback pizza shouldn't have too many toppings because it gets messy and it's not enjoyable. Leaders choose a list of the most important, fruitful areas to work on -- both things to improve and things to continue doing well. The list is short enough to discuss in the time available in the meeting, and the leader has brought suggested actions and support to assist the employee in acting on the feedback.
Want to Order for Delivery?
Here at Amazing Workplace, we're masters at crafting feedback pizza. We've created an incredible platform that can reinvent how you manage and act on feedback. Reach out to us to schedule a demo of our Employee Happiness Management System (EHMS).